PROGEBE HOLDS WORKSHOP ON BUSH FIRE MANAGEMENT

Abdoulie G. Dibba

The   Regional   Project   on   Sustainable   Management   of Endemic Livestock  Ruminant   Livestock   in   West Africa PROGEB E – Gambia, held a day workshop on bush fire management at the Paradise Suites Hotel on Wednesday 18th June 2014.

The workshop brought together participants from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the Department of Forestry, the Department of Livestock, Department of Water Resources, Gambia Fire and rescue Service, the Gambia Police Force, Chiefs, the Media, Governors and Non-governmental Organisations.

According to the Organisers, the project is intended to create the environment for the implementation of set activities in sustainable Natural Resources   Management and that it endeavoured   to strengthen   and   promote   the Community forestry concept through capacity building and empowering management   structures.

The project coordinating Unit indicated that Key activities included forest   rehabilitation through enrichment,   planting of   trees;   bushfire prevention and   control   by   constructing   fire-belts   and   providing   fire-fighting   materials   (high­ pressure water knapsacks and fire beaters) for putting off accidental fires using community-based approach.

The project they said, also   embarked   on   raising   awareness   on   bushfires   through   community radio programs and community consultative workshops   and   village   meetings and that Forest   and   Fire Management   Committees   were   established or revitalized   and   capacitized   through   training   on forest management including bushfire management, group management and small enterprise development for forest products.

To further ensure sustainability, communities were supported to develop and implement local conventions on NRM including bushfire management as a result of which bushfire incidence and community conflicts have reduced at project sites.

As a result of project   interventions,   bushfire   incidence   and   extent of area burnt   has   declined through the 5 years of project implementation and this is indicative of communities’ swift response in preventing fires or putting off fires before they spread.

The project Coordinator Dr. Famara Sanyang asserted that fire incidences have reduced but still large areas are burnt each year although interestingly, community forests and deferred grazing areas which have extra protection by community members were not burnt in the past 5 years.

Dr Sanyang noted that the objective of the Workshop are as follows:-

•Share PROGEBE experience, knowledge and lesson leant on bush fire control

•Discuss on the   use and efficacy of community alerts, warnings and information arrangements in general and in particular the use and efficacy of various forms of social media by

•Who to maintain the efficacy of the Bush fire committee in the project sites and outside the project sites

•To develop a national sustainable system of bush fire prevention and management.

•To reinforce our engagement and renew the commitment of all stakeholders in the fight against bush fire and the protect ion and conservation of habitat.

•To   specify   and   reaffirm   roles   and   responsibilities   of   stakeholders   in the   sustainable management   of bush   fires.

•To   identify policy   loop-holes or policy   implementationconstraints   on   bush fire management.

See the Life of the Rural People Column for details.

 NOTE

PROGEBE is a Regional   Project   on   Sustainable   Management   of Endemic   Ruminant   Livestock   in   West Africa being implemented in four countries: The Gambia, Mali, Guinea and Senegal.

Its goal is, through sound management of natural resources, to define and implement models for community based   preservation   and management of the critical   habitats of endemic ruminant livestock (ERL).